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Interested in a Powerbook G4 12"... what can I expect?

Discussion in 'PowerPC Macs' started by cleanup, Feb 12, 2009.

  1. macrumors 68030


    I'm getting a bit fed up with my netbook nowadays, as the keyboard becomes increasingly frustrating to type on, and I'm looking to get an Apple laptop again.

    My interest is the 12" Powerbook since I don't think Apple will be releasing a netbook anytime soon. I have no idea how much faster/slower the G4 would be (I'm hoping to get at least a 1.0 Ghz), but I imagine it would be at least comparable to the Atom.

    My worry is, however, the battery. I know that at launch these things lasted a good 5-7 hours (same as my Acer Aspire One which gets a good 6 hours) but after the battery replacement program and of course, old age, batteries can last anywhere between 15 minutes to only 2.5 hours.

    How are the third-party batteries that are out there for G4 powerbooks? Would purchasing one of those bring my battery life back up to that elated 5-6 hour line? I'm thinking I need at least 4 hours, like the current-gen MacBooks.

    Here are some local Toronto deals I'm observing:


    Note that the iUpgrade is a local store, and thus I'd pay taxes, shelling out closer to $650 CAD.

    Any advice? What's the best deal of those three? None of them really give any ballpark battery life figures, which I'm worried about, so figure another $80-100 for a new battery? Also I imagine 512 MB of RAM isn't nearly enough; DDR1 can be pricey nowadays, and I'd have to get a one gig stick... ouch!
  2. macrumors Penryn


    1. Only the 1.5 GHz G4 is a good deal. The other machines are too expensive for what they are.

    2. The 867 MHz model lacked a certain something. I forget exactly what. Perhaps it was the bus speed, or the amount of VRAM. I honestly forget. The 867 MHz was also rev. A, and had a lot of complaints and niggling problems.

    Not a chance. :p An Atom is like a Pentium M when all the Windows laptops started coming with wireless in a small package. That was perhaps 4 years ago. At the same time, the G4 was already slower than an Intel processor, so I guess the 1.5 GHz G4 is comparable to a 5 year old Intel laptop processor. That's just a rough estimate.

    I owned the 1 GHz machine. The screen was dimmer than the 1.25 GHz 12" PBs that came out. Brighter screens were included with those machines.

    Also, please remember that the LCD backlight (CCFL) gets dimmer over time. The PB you purchase will be an expensive netbook with a dim screen. I loved my 12" PB at the time, but I don't think I'd want it back. I'd like the actual casing, but if I got one, the first thing I'd look into is replacing the screen.
  3. macrumors 68000


    I bought an 867MHz 12" about 2 years ago just to try them out and ended up loving it! Its a great computer for lots of reasons. The build quality is excellent, and its bigger than a netbook, but still VERY compact. I like it so much, I plan on replacing it with a 1.5GHz model as soon as I get some spare cash. If you're looking at a 12" there are lots of reasons to go with the 1.5GHz model aside from the obvious processor speed:
    *2 finger scrolling
    *64Mb graphics card
    *Faster system bus
    *Faster RAM & higher capacity
    *Higher capacity HD
    *USB 2.0
    *Bluetooth 2.0

    Honestly, my 867MHz model is a lot faster than I figured it would be. I really think people underestimate the G4 power. Too often people are discouraged from buying a G4 by people who have been away from them for too long. Just max out the RAM, and you're good to go.
  4. macrumors 68040


    Max 640MB RAM is the biggest problem with the 867 model.

    Unless size is of absolute importance why not look at an early model Macbook, it should run you only a little more than the 1.5Ghz 12" Powerbook. You will be able to run 10.6, it is much faster, has a higher RAM limit and can use larger and faster SATA hard drives.
  5. macrumors 68000


    Every 12" will hold over 1Gb of RAM. The only difference between the 867MHz model and all the others is the RAM built onto the logicboard. The 867 has 128mb and all the rest have 256. Max RAM for the 867 is 1.12GB and the others will hold 1.25Gb. Any Powerbook G4, no matter what model, will hold at least 1GB of RAM for the maximum.
  6. macrumors 6502a


    Expect greatness.
  7. macrumors 6502


  8. macrumors 6502a

    John Jacob

    Yup, I second that from my personal experience. I have an 867 PB12 with 1.12 GB, and I've never had a kernel panic since I upgraded it in 2004. Apple officially supported only 640MB RAM in the 867 PB12, but that was only because 1GB SODIMM chips weren't available at that time so Apple couldn't test them in the PB.
  9. macrumors 68040


    My mistake I was just going by the specs listed on Apple History.
  10. macrumors 65816


    The biggest problem with the 12" PowerBooks is that YouTube playback is getting more difficult with each new version of Flash.

    A friend got a 3rd party battery last year and it's basically useless now. The battery is now the PowerBook's achilles heel moving forward.

    Honestly, it might be worth it getting an MSI Wind or some such. All the kids say it's pretty simple to get OS X on there.
  11. macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    I agree. No sense imo in shelling out that much money on such an old machine. I think you'd be better off going for a Dell Mini or MSI Wind, installing OSX, and laughing. The G4 would be fine for Office, web, email, etc... but so would the Netbook, and would be newer technology, probably more powerful, and would be under warranty.
  12. macrumors 65816


    That reminds me, the Dell Mini has a really nice screen from what I hear (actually, just some random photographer's review of it). But yeah... more ram, newer hardware makes the Dell and MSI 'books a more sensible choice. Sad to say, but the PowerBook is indeed approaching "vintage" status as Apple will declare it next month.
  13. macrumors 6502a


    Last Year I bought a 1.5 PB w/ max ram and 250 hdd. It was / is mint condition with a bright screen and applecare till august 2009. I paid $600. I gave it to my son a few weeks ago. I love the form factor and iconic prestige but IMHO it will not touch my 2.2 black macbook. I am a big fan of the MB's magnetic latch (although I believe it's cracked a many a MB top case). The alu case is too slippery for me too. I always wondered why there are soo many dented ones. My PB did everything well except video. It struggled with video in itunes. I could play the same video in quicktime only, and it would do OK. I hope there will be an update for that little problem. The PB fan seems to run plenty smooth and probably less than my wife's HP notebook but it is loud compared to the MB. Right now you can get a 2.1 refurb MB for $850 USD. That is 25% more than I paid for my PB but it is 200% more product. It's all good though. I couldn't rest until I had my own PB. I didn't know at the time, it's just what my son wanted too. The 12" PB is still a sweet item, it just isn't a sound Mac purchase for 2009.

    Edit; HaHa, I just read my post including sig. My last rev Mac mini was not a sound purchase either (the day it was updated in august 2007) but I just had to have it too. Cool form factor and all.:rolleyes:

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